The Old Parsonage Stenner Lane Didsbury Manchester M20 2RQ 0161 445 7661

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting for year ending 2022

Held on 11th September 2023 at the Old Parsonage

With a welcome return to the Old Parsonage for our first face to face meeting since Covid-19 lock down.

Welcome and Introductions: Mike Corlett

Attendees: Carole Wilkinson, Mary Christie, John Leitch, Richard Kilpatrick, Mark Clayton, Ellie Sams, Paul Thornhill, Gordon Browne, James Wilson.

Apologies for absence: Cllr Andrew Simcock, Dr Diana Leitch and Sue Good

Matters arising from 2021 AGM Minutes (previously circulated) – None

Acceptance of minutes proposed GB and Seconded CW

Presentation of Accounts (certified independently by C Smail)

The accounts had been previously circulated and copies were issued again on the night. They have previously been approved unanimously by the trustees, and were also approved in the meeting. 

Chairman’s Report – Didsbury Civic Society Report to The Charity Commission For 2022

Already submitted to the Charity Commission.

The year 2022 started to bring improvement to the Civic Society as we started to face the changes brought about during the Covid-19 lock down. The community started to communicate verbally and by meeting up rather than by incessant emails and messaging, though we still used Zoom as a platform for our general meetings, and with other local community groups.

Increasing the membership is still slow and a recruitment campaign is planned at the local festivals and with a stall and event at the local library. The DCS is dependent on membership funds as it is our main source of income, we do apply for grants for which have to be attached to an appropriate project rather that for equipment type purchases. Which are more readily available from councils and easier to fulfil.

Funding restrictions are also being applied to applications such as deprivation, the number of free school meals issued in your area etc. The DCS`s key areas are history, culture, heritage and local infrastructure which many councils are not now really as interested in. The rapid deterioration to local infrastructure such as pavements and roads has become a serious restriction to the mobility of older residents and members alike. Especially those with disability who are clearly disadvantaged by uneven and broken pavements and water filled potholes. In many cases the Disability Act 2010 seems to be ignored and with a blind eye being turned. Along with the usual mantra of no budget or funding rather than looking to construct budgets for forthcoming financial years to address the problems.

Towards the end of 2021 we started to roll out our main and substantial project for 2022 which was a fully inclusive community project to improve the local War Memorial Garden into a Garden of Contemplation, for which we now have a fully operational project team. We have currently raised a proportion of the funding required to start the site clearance during autumn 2023 and we are still seeking funds from the larger notable heritage charities. We are also close to the provision of a wall plaque/storyboard for a second project called the Spann`s Ghost Art using QR code technology for visitors to Didsbury. Allowing them to look up the full story of the associated family who were a key Didsbury family of the time.

Our website was fully upgraded during 2021 which now allows us to take payments directly via the website which has proved to be a hit to our members. Though, we now have to be more aware to the possibility of opening ourselves to fraudsters testing stolen cards making small donations to test if cards are still active. Which allows fraudsters to commit larger frauds. The cards being used are usually from South America and Russia and can be challenged, and the donations returned. Removing the possibility of penalty payments being charged to our bank account.

Our Social trips also still prove to be a big success with members, and are also open to the public with trips to the Liverpool old law courts, a lunch and Knowsley Safari Park. We also made a trip to Wedgewood Pottery again with a lunch which was also a very successful trip with nearly 40 travellers out of lockdown.

We continue to support Didsbury Pride which is a great day locally with a large number of attendees. Which allows us a to meet and discuss many topics and interests with the public and display our collection of old local photographs. Attendees are not necessarily members of the civic society but always appear to enjoy viewing the past.

The planning was also started for the follow up to our 2021 Climate and Pollution meeting for a future public meeting. This was scheduled for Spring 2023. With two eminent and recognised Manchester doctors who are specialists in pollution and it`s damaging effects on lungs. We also had the Didsbury based branch of Mums for Lungs speaking on children`s lung damage. Which can be caused by a variety of events from idling vehicles, local traffic jams, home deliveries and returns, school drop offs and pickups etc.

Our Heritage Open Doors filming successfully continues at a pace. Completed projects continue to be uploaded to YouTube for both members and public viewing by those who use and search this medium.

The DCS has agreed to ensure it works with all community groups within the local area. Without working together, it becomes very difficult for all groups to achieve the best outcomes for the various interest groups. Politics are not now necessarily always in the best interest of the local public for many and multiple reasons. With the achieving of best outcomes proving much more difficult.  Such as the highly acclaimed Didsbury Civic Societies Didsbury Plan and Future Didsbury which remains far from Manchester City Councils agenda for our leafy Didsbury.

Mike Corlett (Chair)

Other Reports as Required by the Chairman

Planning & Licensing

Gordon Brown delivered a verbal report on Planning & Licensing.  

  • We were active on the planning from the start of the Dandara/Tesco application and met with the developer and attended their presentations. The developer used the previous approval of Didsbury Point as a benchmark.
  • Didsbury Shell Garage, we objected to extensions to their license. With changes to alcohol sales, including increasing to 24 hr sales, especially as an extended operation already existed at Shell Burnage. Didsbury Park has had some resultant alcohol problems with young people.
  • The ex-Didsbury Police station has now been converted to apartments, although there now appears to be two terraces added to the rear of the building.
  • Bar186 ex CAU and Zizzi still remains uncompleted after approximately 3 years. It is understood to now be in administration, uncompleted and untidy. Is this not a situation where MCC Planning and Licensing should step in and revoke the permissions granted. Surely the community of Didsbury deserve better than this?
  • Gail’s bakery has been granted a renewal of their pavement license. Should some restrictions have been made about the ramp removal where a table is now in use on the pavement?
  • Wine and Wallop`s in West Didsbury, external table arrangement has been set out to override the public pavement on what is a public parade.  


Mary Christie delivered a verbal report on membership.   

  • Membership has reduced, though stabilising.
  • The reduction affects the Civic Society’s revenue and stretches the finances of a society based on membership.
  • The social trips remain very popular. However, coach operator charges have approximately doubled probably due to the very significant fuel price increases. Resultant mainly by the war in Ukraine.   

Election of Officers and Committee

Chair Mike Corlett,

Secretary-vacant (with Mary Christie acting)

Treasurer-vacant.  The treasurer`s role still remains shared between Chair and Secretary.

The chair proposed that as all trustees were seeking re-election, that they should all be re-elected. This was accepted unanimously.    

Mike Corlett, Ellie Sams, Carol Wilkinson, Gordon Browne, Richard Kilpatrick

A show of hands vote was requested and took place, and all were re-elected unanimously.

Pam Venning who was standing down was wished well in her new life in Kent and thanked for her work on behalf of the Civic Society.     

Any Other Business

Richard Kilpatrick delivered an update on the success of the first weekend of the Didsbury Heritage Open Doors, with 13 sites opening up to the public. Richard proposed a vote of thanks to Diana Leitch and Sue Good for their hard work in delivering the heritage programme on behalf of the DCS. Diana also delivered a presentation on The Simons of Didsbury, which raised £105 for the British Heart Foundation. Richard agreed to collate the site attendee numbers when they become available. Thanks for everyone`s support.        

Paul Thornhill expressed his interest in the installation of a plaque and tree in tribute to the past work of Tom Webster within the DCS and Didsbury generally. It was suggested that Mike approaches Southway Housing Trust to test whether it could be situated in the Jubilee Gardens on Grove Lane.

The next general meeting will take place on the 13th November 2023. This is part of our plan to meet on every second month (but the meetings day remains as the second Monday as normal). Trustee meetings will take place on the vacant Mondays).

It was proposed and agreed that a further community meeting would take place on Air Pollution, perhaps to include the more hidden problems present within our homes. Mike will make contact with Liz Godfrey of Mums for Lungs who were on the next table to us at Didsbury Pride regarding joining us for the next event.

Meeting Dates

DCS General Meeting Dates: 13th November 2023, 8th January 2024, 11th March 2024, 13th May 2024,      8th July 2024, 9th September 2024.

Trustee Meetings: 9th October 2023, 11th December 2023, 12th February 2024, 8th April 2024,     10th June 2024, 8th August 2024.  

Planning and Licensing –   To be advised

Mike Corlett